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from the December 2005 issue

Fragments from “Real Life for the Last Scene of a Movie”

"Nothing can be more important than love." --Gidon Kremer

I. Out of necessity

We had to walk. This necessity made me happy. I hadn't been this happy for a long while, I thought. It's hot. Stifling heat one would call it-that's the kind of heat we're having. Not a single cloud in the sky. The blue of the sky is the prettiest blue I've ever seen. I don't like whitish blue. This blue has both the dark and light hues in it . . .

The sky is not actually the way I see it, of course. If you ask the person on my left, he'll say it is white, the one on my right will say gray. I personally think that if you take a careful look you'll see every tone of blue in it.

The street is awfully crowded. What are millions of people doing in this city? Most of them weren't even born here; ask them and you'll find out that they came from the other end of the world. Why in the hell do they come here, I used to think angrily. One day I sat down and gave it some serious thought. I was born here but what about my father or grandfather-why in the hell had they come to this city? I stopped thinking this way after that. God placed a compass in people's pockets, the needle pointed to this place, and so here they are!

What we call destiny is this compass. When the needle points to happiness you are happy, when it points to death you're dead, when it points to love you're in love. One day we decided to get drunk. I told this compass story to those I was drinking with. I forgot who exactly, but one of them said: "What if the compass goes askew?" "You would go nuts in that case," I replied and we all laughed.

I wish my compass had gone askew too . . .

The weather is lovely. So are the women. Some are blonde, some brunette; some are overweight, some skinny. Each one is pretty in her own way. There, that one walking in front of me . . . Her hair has such a pretty color. And it shines with the sunlight falling on it. Even though she has a loose skirt on, one can tell she has round hips. She's wearing shoes open in the back, her heels are dirty. The girl coming from the opposite direction keeps lifting her glasses with her index finger. If I had a daughter she would be her age. She must be at least twenty. Think of a girl this tall calling me "Dad"! . . . Too bad that nobody is going to call me that in my lifetime. I was married once. I wanted to have a child then. The girl I had married was a student. She kept putting off motherhood until she finished school. She didn't take marriage very seriously anyway. In the beginning she used to feel very embarrassed when she introduced me to her friends. Then she started to educate me-if you could call it that! Books, movies, etc. Realizing that she wouldn't get very far, she left me as soon as she had graduated. I knew we would end up this way from the very beginning. I had the nerve to dream of fatherhood. In fact, I was nothing but a "necessity" in her life . . .

II. Life is sweet

Life is sweet . . . He had pleaded with me thus before I killed him. Life is sweet . . . People like us can't tell the difference between what's sweet and what's not. When you had a job and you were in a good mood, like I am now, I didn't know that, looking up at the sky, you were supposed to say, "Life is sweet." The man I killed was like me too, but he had learned that life was sweet. At one of the court sessions his wife and brother had attacked me. The wife's screams are still in my ears: "How dare you annihilate a living creature! . . ."

Am I God, damn it! Why did I shoot the man? Why did I take his life? When he had said, "Life is sweet . . ."

III. Provided that you love mankind . . .

I could have become a different person. Reading or exerting one's brains is not necessary for that. Provided that you love mankind.

We just drag through life, millions of people. Of all colors, of all languages.

Some of us are happy, some drunk, some derelicts, some idiots. We are alive at least . . . We see the sky, we know the rain.

Just now I thought of the transsexual who used to live in our building. He was not exactly a transsexual; he had not gathered the courage to have it cut off. He sounded very funny when he attempted to talk and laugh like a woman.

But he was more honest than any woman I have known. What's more, he liked me. In fact he was in love with me. Once we were drinking and he started to insist that we make love. God forbid! I could go to bed with other faggots, but not him. Because I liked this boy in a different way.

He used to go to the roof to feed the seagulls. With his bowed legs I can still almost see him walking slowly on the terrace in high-heeled purple shoes. He used to think seagulls resembled him. He never explained why; I wouldn't be able to retell it like him anyway. One of his transsexual friends had one day said, "Our buddy is in love with you." That was no news to me.

I felt very sad when he was stabbed in the middle of the street and died. It was a drunken client who did it. At his funeral his mother kept sobbing, "My daughter, ah, my daughter!" I have witnessed so many deaths, plus I am a murderer myself, yet I am still scared of death. In one of my dreams I was dead. I was freezing cold when I woke up. It was as if one more step and I'd be inside the gate of death. Mother was there too; praying.

IV. Coming close to the end

Someone had told me that everybody feared death when they came close to the end. Each day we get closer to the end. Boats, trains, planes are continuously bringing in people. People are escaping, arriving, leaving, waiting. We are getting closer to the end . . .

The heat is getting worse. I feel as if I have been walking for ages. I have passed through these streets with so many others . . . Years ago it was with Mother and my brother who later hanged himself. First Mother died, then my brother. Now I'm all alone.

My brother was not like me. When he died we thought he had hanged himself for no reason. This wasn't the case though. When you get close to the end you learn that even walking can make you happy, that life is sweet, provided you love mankind. He had told me such stuff before he hanged himself. At the time I did not understand what he meant.

V. Very close to the endless end

"There is happiness at the endless end."

This he had written somewhere before he hanged himself. "He must be learning all this from the books he reads," I had thought. Now, see, even I-a person who has never opened the cover of a single book-believe that there is happiness at the endless end.

We were taking a trip. The bus smelled of rotten eggs. I was in low spirits. He seemed to be enjoying himself. He pointed to the down on the neck of the girl sitting in front of us. It was blond hair, not very healthy-looking. I don't know why but it seemed like I was looking at a rich wheat field on snow white, soft skin.

Then I was in a good mood just like him.

VI. Endless end

I passed the sea. And the blue . . . The people, the faces as well . . .

Also the streets I had walked through years ago with my brother who knew there was happiness at the endless end . . .

I'm no God. Now I have learned not to kill.

Life is sweet. See, I'm saying this as well for the first time.

I should have married the transsexual who fed the seagulls. From him I could have learned everything that I know now.

This building is awfully depressing. I haven't counted how many times I've come here. The colors have disappeared. There are voices and faces.

"Our walk took us ten minutes." The security officer on my left says this.

Did it take ten minutes as well before they reached the verdict or was it longer?

"Execution by hanging."

Death, in other words. I turn back and look:

"Didn't you folks die?"

My mother, my brother, and the transsexual. The man I killed, his hands crossed on his chest, is smiling at me. He is wearing the bloodstained shirt which made me feel nauseated that day.

I call out to the man I killed:

"You said life was sweet."

Those present, even the very serious-looking lawyer, were puzzled about who I was calling out to. They may have thought I was trying to escape the rope by pretending I had gone nuts. I, too, at first wondered if my compass had gone askew. Then I remembered that the needle had pointed to death.

When I went out after the verdict I had to walk. This necessity made me happy. Then I thought of how I hadn't been this happy for a long time. It's nice weather, and hot as well. Stifling heat one would call it, and that's the kind of heat we're having. Not a single cloud in the sky. The blue of the sky is the prettiest blue I've ever seen. I don't like whitish blue. This blue has both the light and dark hues in it.

The sky is not actually the way I see it of course. Ask that man and he'll say it is white. If you asked the convict inside whose compass is pointing to death, he would say gray . . . I personally think that if you take a careful look you'll see every tone of blue in it.

In the last scene, upon hearing his death verdict, the convict should turn around and look back. In this scene his mother, brother, the man he killed and the transsexual should appear. A strange blurriness is necessary in this scene. (To provide the blurriness one should talk to the boy who worked as the lighting technician in the last movie; now, what was his name?)

Read more from the December 2005 issue
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